Keeping dry. It’s an necessary but difficult process whereas backpacking. There are the inevitable moments the place you’re going to must make your peace with moisture: wet mountain climbing days, tent condensation, stream crossings, and humidity meets profuse sweating, to call just a few.
But although getting moist is considerably inevitable throughout backcountry journey, there are key precautions to take, like guaranteeing your most important items of drugs—sleeping bag, camp garments, and electronics, for instance—stay dry. This is the place pack liners and pack covers turn out to be useful.
Do you want each a pack liner and a pack cowl for backpacking? Probably not. It’s extra weight and each roughly accomplish the identical factor. (Plus, a poncho and pack liner combo presents the true profitable choice—keep tuned for extra on why!)
But, if not each, which one is best for you? We’re right here that can assist you determine!
Below, we’ll provide the full rundown on pack liners and pack covers, together with:
- How to Use Pack Liners and Pack Covers
- Pros and Cons of Using a Pack Cover
- Pros and Cons of Using a Pack Liner
- The Verdict: Should You Use a Pack Liner or Pack Cover for Backpacking?
How to Use Pack Liners and Pack Covers
Pack liners are usually plastic baggage which are massive sufficient to fill the principle compartment of your backpack. They might be trash baggage you’d use in your kitchen’s rubbish can, or one thing extra fitted for backpacks and made out of stronger plastic, reminiscent of Gossamer Gear’s clear waterproof pack liners.
Pack liners get inserted into the principle compartment of your backpack earlier than you pack your entire gear into it. So, basically, you’ll be packing your gear into the liner bag. The pack liner creates a water-proof wall between your gear and the skin of your backpack.
Pack covers might be normal plastic baggage, however are additionally generally made out of nylon, polyester, or different materials much like your backpack. They’ll usually embrace elastic across the opening or some kind of cinching gadget to make sure it suits snugly to your pack.
Pack covers match over your complete again of your pack everytime you want them. Unless it’s raining out, it’s doubtless saved in considered one of your pack’s outer pockets for straightforward grabbing. Once it begins raining, you are taking it out, stretch it over your pack’s exterior, and maintain mountain climbing. It creates a reasonably waterproof shell in your pack.
Pros and Cons of Using a Pack Cover
There are drawbacks and advantages to utilizing a pack cowl.
Some of the professionals of utilizing a pack cowl embrace:
- Simple to placed on. Putting on and taking off pack covers is a reasonably fast course of. You simply must stretch it over your pack in the event you want it.
- Keeps the outside of your pack dry. Since pack covers go on the skin of your bag, they provide water safety to each the gear inside your pack in addition to the outside of your pack.
- Don’t have to recollect to place it in first when packing. Since pack covers are a use-as-needed merchandise, you possibly can deploy them every time, whereas pack liners must be put into your bag earlier than you pack your entire gear.
Some of the cons of utilizing a pack cowl embrace:
- Dripping water. As water hits your waterproof pack cowl, it beads us and drips down. In many instances, this could imply it drips down onto your behind. If you’re not carrying rain pants, this regular added stream of water could make wet mountain climbing much more tedious.
- Harder to seize issues from aspect pockets. Once your pack cowl is on, you don’t have easy accessibility to the outside pockets of your pack. So, in the event you’re attempting to succeed in again in your water bottle, you’ll have some extra hurdles to face.
- Can snag on branches. If you must do any bushwhacking or in the event you simply end up on an overgrown path, pack covers can simply catch on brush as you stroll by. This can journey you up, make you lose your cowl with out realizing it, and even transfer your pack cowl in order that it’s now not absolutely defending your gear.
- Potential for leaks. If you don’t suit your pack cowl securely round your total bag, it’s attainable for water to get beneath it nonetheless and soak by to your gear.
- Extra weight. Since pack covers want elastic or different closure units, they usually weigh greater than pack liners. Additionally, since they’re on the skin of your pack, they accumulate water weight. If you’re unable to completely dry it out after use, you’ll have to hold it moist in your pack.
- Won’t maintain hip belt pockets dry. Pack covers solely cowl your foremost compartment, so your hip belt pockets can nonetheless get drenched. If they’re not waterproof and also you’re retaining your telephone in a single, beware!
- Have to cease to place it on. To correctly deploy your pack cowl, you’ll must take off your pack, which is usually a little annoying in the event you’re attempting to maneuver by the rain as rapidly as you possibly can.
Pros and Cons of Using a Pack Liner
As with pack covers, there are drawbacks and advantages to utilizing a pack liner.
Some of the professionals of utilizing a pack liner embrace:
- Lightweight. Pack liners are easy: a skinny plastic bag. There aren’t any elastic bands or clunky clips that add weight. Also, because it’s on the inside of your pack, it received’t accumulate water weight and also you don’t have to fret about drying it out at camp.
- Cheap. Pack liners are a no frills piece of drugs. You may even use a trash bag you have already got, although it won’t match fairly as properly as a liner particularly made for backpacking.
- Keeps the underside of your bag dry and protects gear whatever the climate. Even when it’s not raining out, your pack liner will turn out to be useful for retaining your gear dry. If you set it down on moist grass, for instance, or occur to take a wee tumble right into a creek as you’re crossing, the liner is already in place to guard your gear from any water soaking by.
- Creates a pleasant divider inside your pack. If you find yourself with a moist tent within the morning or in any other case have gross gear you’d prefer to separate out of your cleaner, dry gear, a pack liner may help with this. Simply slip your moist tent or different gear into the house between the liner and the skin of your pack and place all the pieces else within the liner bag.
Some of the cons of utilizing a pack liner embrace:
- Have to recollect to place them in first when packing. It is usually a little bit of a ache to have your pack absolutely loaded and then keep in mind you forgot to place your liner in.
- Using one can take some getting used to. If you haven’t packed your bag with a liner earlier than, it’d take some time to regulate to the texture of it. You nonetheless have the identical house to work with in your pack, however it could not appear that means at first.
- Might not match as effectively with some packs. If you’re utilizing a backpack that has a number of compartments, utilizing a liner may be more durable, because it received’t slip as simply right into a foremost compartment.
- Doesn’t maintain the skin of your pack dry. While your gear inside your pack will likely be comfortable as a bug, you must keep in mind that the outside of your pack remains to be uncovered to the weather. So, be aware of what you’re retaining in your exterior pockets and think about storing gadgets in Ziplocks or different waterproof baggage. (There’s one other professional tip within the subsequent part, although, that may additionally assist with this!)
The Verdict: Should You Use a Pack Liner or Pack Cover for Backpacking?
Ultimately, the selection is yours! Do what works finest for you and your hike. Our vote, nonetheless, goes to the pack liner. When it involves retaining it light-weight, low cost, and sensible, the pack liner actually will get the job achieved. And, most of its drawbacks have straightforward fixes.
Here are a pair professional tricks to additional enhance your pack liner expertise:
- Having hassle retaining your pack liner in place as you load gear into your bag? Set your pack on the bottom and stand it upright as you place the liner into the principle compartment. Adjust the liner till it fills up your complete house contained in the bag and stand it up parallel with the highest of the bag. Next, roll the liner and prime of your bag down collectively three or 4 instances. This retains your liner in place and presents a large opening for loading your gear. Once all the pieces is loaded, separate the highest of the liner out of your pack and roll it down earlier than closing your prime lid.
- Worried about retaining gear in your exterior and hip belt pockets dry when utilizing a pack liner? This might be simply solved by selecting a mountain climbing umbrella or poncho as your private rain apparel, each of which can cowl the skin of your pack. An umbrella can play double obligation retaining you cool on scorching days and even supply some reprieve in your doggie. Also, with Gossamer Gear’s hands-free attachment, it may clip proper onto your shoulder strap. A poncho is straightforward to deploy from a aspect pocket in your pack and covers you and your pack, together with hip belt pockets. It may double as a makeshift tarp if wanted and presents larger breathability than many raincoats.
Hungry for extra backpacking gear and planning data? Check out a few of our different articles on the Light Feet weblog:
And, in the event you’re searching for an superior, light-weight pack liner, you possibly can snag our Clear Waterproof Pack Liners on-line! They’re offered in two-packs and match most backpacks, particularly these within the Gossamer Gear line. They weigh simply 1.2 ounces and are fabricated from tremendous robust 2 mil clear virgin polyethylene movie.